Dhuwarrwarr Marika

Born                  c. 1946
Moiety               Dhuwa
Homeland         Yirrkala, Yalangbara, Gulurunga, Bremer Island
Clan                  Rirratjingu, Miliwurrwurr group
Other Names    Banuminy

Dhuwarrwarr is sister of Wandjuk, Bay'ul and Banduk Marika, and daughter of Mawalan, the Rirratji'u clan leader who originally welcomed the missionaries to set up on his land, creating the beginnings of modern day Yirrkala.
“From that time when my father was painting my elder sister helped him but she is a little blind now. From when I was twelve to this time I started to paint. Sometimes I used to help my father. That one (her nephew Mawalan #2) he learned from grandfather and his father. He watched his grandfather - that my father. Currently I’m doing my own art using the same design and lino printing - my fathers design but my own imagination. When my father was alive they only painted on bark. He used to cut bark and lay it flat and store it for the dry season. His (Mawalan #2) sister Rarriwuy is learning - I have been teaching her.

I’m teaching my brother’s children for all the painting as well as my children. I used to ask them to come and watch me. I use my own colours from the shore - the yellow and the red, just a rock, and the black, baya'u (not) charcoal. Like my brother (Wandjuk), I sometimes mix yellow and black to make green. Like this one (holds a loaf of white clay) I used to go and get it in a bucket and mash it up and leave it in the sun to dry. I am trying hard to get this man (Mawalan#2) to come back to do the painting. Not all the painting I can remember (being done) but this one; Dja’kawu and this one from my brother, and this one; Djarrak (seagull). Early stage when Dorothy Bennett used to come here to collect barks my father and brother used to
paint.”

Dhuwarrwarr is a statesperson for her people, representing them on various committees and institutions such as Land Councils and Women’s groups. In 1993 she travelled to Europe as an invited speaking guest for the opening of the the internationally travelling exhibition of ‘Aratjara - Art of the First Australians’.

 

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